Diversity post to be left vacant

Lottie Young 1 November 2007

The University’s current Head of Equality and Diversity is to step down this month, leaving the post vacant.

Victoria Showunmi told The Cambridge Student that no interviews had been held to find a replacement. The position had not even been advertised as vacant, despite her making University authorities aware of the fact that she would not be staying on after her 6-month contract ended.

The rigorous selection procedure for a sensitive post of this kind means that it could remain unfilled for as long as three months.

This comes in the wake of two recent race controversies at Cambridge. Last week TCS reported on a medical student who alleged he suffered racial discrimination in his application to clinical school.

He has launched legal proceedings against the clinical school, and has the backing of the Commission for Equality and Human Rights.

This in turn followed the publishing of a survey a month ago revealing that 12% of ethnic minority University staff have faced racial discrimination.

Black Students’ Campaign Officer Junior Penge Juma and Women’s Officer Elly Shepherd expressed concern at Showunmi’s departure, and praised her for the help she had provided to both the Black Students’ and the Women’s Campaign.

“She supports Elly and myself in our campaigns. They should fill the post as soon as possible” Juma said, while Shepherd called her appointment “a breakthrough for equality and diversity at the university”.

Lottie Young